Saturday, December 3, 2011

COMMENTARY: Women's Right to Drive in Saudi Arabia Is an Idea Whose Time Has Come

This week, a new report released by Saudi Arabia's largest religious organization states that allowing women to drive motor vehicles would mean that "there would no longer be any virgins" in that nation within 10 years.

The report is an assessment of the impact of allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia -- the only country in the world in which women are not allowed to drive -- sparked by a recent case in which a Saudi woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving a car.

A more sincere assessment for women's "loss of virginity" would be that Muslim men fear that allowing women to drive cars will provide women with too much freedom, thus resulting in many of them to live immoral lives.

To understand the underlying reasons for the fanatical denial of rights to Saudi women -- and not just with respect to driving a car -- we need to bear in mind that Saudi Arabia is considered by many experts of Islam to be the "most Islamic" country in the world. Consequently, Saudi Arabia tends to be resistant when it comes to letting go of Islamic traditions.

Perhaps the most important reason for Saudi Arabia to maintain these traditions is because Mohammed -- the prophet who founded Islam -- was born in the Saudi city of Mecca, which is considered the most holy city of Islam.

In fact -- even today -- it is a tradition for all Muslims around the world to face Mecca, as they pray several times every day.

Moreover, Islamic tradition provides its men worshipers with more rights than its women; however, driving a car should not be considered a right, but rather a necessity in today's society.

It is now time for Saudi Arabia to join every other nation in the world in allowing its women to drive cars.

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